Modern Masters 2015: What Did You Expect From A Sequel?

For several years during my early teens, my extended family would frequently get together for general socializing. One aunt and uncle lived on the same dead-end street as my grandparents, and so my siblings, cousins and I spent countless hours coming up with all manner of games, activities, and video skits to pass the hours. A few times we even came up with schemes to persuade other neighborhood kids to participate in some low-end means of raising some extra cash, such as lemonade stands or pseudo-carnival style games. It was a fun, formative time, and for the life of me I can’t recall why we thought some of the things we dreamt up to whittle away the summer days were good ideas.

Such is childhood I suppose.

One such quandary came in the form of endlessly enduring the movie Grease one summer in the mid 90’s. I forget how a movie from 1978 consumed the interest of both my sisters and my two female cousins for weeks on end. They watched it repeatedly. They secured a copy of the soundtrack. Once, we all went camping in New Hampshire for the weekend, and the local campground by chance hosted a talent show of sorts. At least two of my family got up on stage to perform We Go Together to 30 some odd strangers – and won.

Admit it: it's a little fun.

Admit it: it’s a little fun

The reason that campground audience responded so well their rendition, why four girls were encapsulated by a movie that came out almost ten years before most of them were born, and why as a result of their one summer obsession that I have the lyrics to far more of the songs from Grease seared into my memory than I care to admit, is that, well, it was a good movie. Sure, it’s a movie adaptation of theatrical musical, but the basic story has a timeless and enduring quality about teenage romance. Plus, the movie had a quality principal cast in the form of John Travolta, Olivia-Newton John, and Stockard Channing, and many of the songs are pretty catchy after a fashion. Grease was incredibly popular during its time, and it’s still hailed as one of the best musicals to date.

Grease 2, however, was abysmal.

With none of the main cast, an even more outlandish premise than the first, and incredibly forgettable songs, the movie was considered a failure almost immediately, relegated to the footnotes of cinematic history as an ill-fated plan to stretch Grease into a musical movie franchise.

Sadly, terrible sequels to popular movies is nothing new. Sometimes it’s simply the result of not being able to catch the lightning in a bottle effect of the first movie, or too much of a shakeup in the cast, or a poorly-executed or unrelated script. Other times it’s simply because the initial movie was successful and the studios want to squeeze as much money out of the material that they can. Most of the time, it’s all of the above.

Unfortunately, that’s also what Wizards of the Coast has done with Modern Masters 2015. They went and George Lucased their sequel.

modern masters 2015 cover

When we explored the forces behind the creation of Modern Masters, we noted that Wizards was certainly taking a chance making a fully-reprinted set that was intended to be draftable, helpful to the financial pains of Modern tourney players, and accessible for casual players as a premium-level product. When we reviewed Modern Masters on those criteria, we found that the overall presentation was pretty decent, although our skepticism on the financial easement aspect has proven true – but we’ll get to that. Still, the set had a ton of sought after cards that people wanted, from lowly commons through mythic rares, and drafting it was top notch. People wanted to draft it again, even if the price point was a bit high for most people at an MSRP of $7 per pack. This above all was a telltale sign that, aside from seriously underprinting the set, most players were pleased with it.

Modern Masters 2015 has not garnered the same adoration. This set didn’t give us Godfather 2. Instead, we got Anchorman 2: a passable but ultimately disappointing fare. What follows are three key reasons why.

Next: Plot Issues